Cross Country: Late surge gives Butler hometown sweep

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, October 4, 2017
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Finishing First

FINISHING FIRST – Decatur runner Taylor Butler finished first in the 4A-and-under 3,200 at Saturday’s Reunion Run. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

With the finish line in sight Saturday, Decatur’s Taylor Butler found an extra gear to get around Valley View’s Sydney Reynolds to win the 4A-and-under 3,200 at the Reunion Run.

Butler’s victory gave the Decatur senior the sweep of the hometown meets. She won the Assault of Eagle Summit Sept. 9.

Butler won in 12:01, beating Reynolds by three seconds.

“It has a lot of meaning because people are like ‘you have to defend the town,'” Butler said. “We had three of the top runners in Texas here today. This is a hard meet, and I expected to see hard competition today.”

Butler led the Lady Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the latest Cross Country Coaches Association of Texas girls poll, to the victory with 49 points. Bridgeport finished second with 115.

Butler found herself in a talented trio with Argyle’s Lanie Rodgers and Reynolds at the front of the race within the half mile. Rodgers led the tightly-packed threesome through the first mile in 5:49.

“I told myself, ‘I don’t know if I could keep that pace. All I do know is if she dies out, I’m going to have to stay up there,” Butler said. “I’ve been working really hard on our tempo days to keep my pace.”

Over the final mile as the race hit the back portion of the course, Butler and Reynolds got past Rodgers. With 200 meters left, Butler dropped Reynolds and sprinted alone to the finish line.

“I had a little flashback to last year. I let Laney beat me last year at the 300-meter mark,” Butler said. “I’ve been working this hard all year. I can beat her and beat [Reynolds] because I guarantee that no one is training like me and my team.”

Butler said she had a little doubt early in the race but felt herself get stronger as she made her way around the course. She expects to run an even stronger race on the same course Oct. 11 at the 9-4A championships.

“It was a learning experience,” Butler said. “This is our district course. We’re going to be running here again 11 days from now.”

Decatur had four runners in the top 11. Makenzie Fox took fifth in 12:46. Elizabeth Culpepper was ninth in 13 minutes and Kayla Leal 11th in 13:13. Audri Baber finished 24th in 13:49 as the fifth Lady Eagle.

Bridgeport freshman Marisol Fraga turned in a 12:43 to finish fourth.

Boyd’s Carrie Schwartz turned in a top-10 performance, taking seventh in 12:57.

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